Category Archives: Said, Edward

Halt in the Desert

c. 1845. Richard Dadd, writes Dalrymple, was alive to 'the beauty of the world and (incidentally) to the dignity of the people through whose lands he had traveled. It would take an Edward Said to see anything other than admiration'

c. 1845. Richard Dadd, writes Dalrymple, was alive to ‘the beauty of the world and (incidentally) to the dignity of the people through whose lands he had travelled. It would take an Edward Said to see anything other than admiration’

Le Carré’s Muslim zombies

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 07.59.38In A Most Wanted Man (2008), Dalrymple explains, a half-Russian, half-Chechen illegal immigrant to Germany with a past as a Muslim activist becomes the object of the unfair and unscrupulous attentions of German, British and US spies.

As usual in John le Carré,

the spies are as much concerned with doing each other down as with the ostensible object of their investigation.

The illegal immigrant

Edward Said: would have complained of reprehensible orientalism

Edward Said: reprehensible orientalism

is befriended by a radically, though not implausibly, humourless German female civil rights lawyer and an unlikely and unlikeable British private banker, both of whom are ‘turned’ by the intelligence services of their respective countries.

Dalrymple notes that le Carré

is clearly sympathetic to the Muslim characters in his story, making them morally superior to the Westerners.

However, the Muslim characters

are unrealistic and almost ­zombie-like. No doubt Edward Said, if he were alive, would accuse le Carré of orientalism, in this instance with some justice.

The sad evasiveness of Sadakat Kadri

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 10.40.10Dalrymple writes that Sadakat Kadri, in his Heaven and Earth, exhibits

cowardly abdication of intellectual responsibility and of honesty,

and eel-like slipperiness.

One could expend several pages on teasing out the evasions, half-lies and non-sequiturs. The baleful, honesty-destroying influence of the late Edward Said is evident.

Kadri seeks

to justify a paranoid self-pity among Muslims.

For instance, he says how appalled he is by the 2005 Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons,

but not by the criminal and mendacious mullahs who, in their treacherous efforts to stir up trouble against the country that had welcomed them and provided them with a very decent living, added to the cartoons in question some that were never published; nor by efforts to kill the cartoonists; nor by the primitive, stupid and vicious behaviour of inflamed crowds that ended in the deaths of quite a number of people.

He is

a lawyer specializing in human rights; one can only suppose that he leads a double life. Whether he does or not, his book is a dishonest, ill-written, and disgraceful performance, which is no doubt why it drew such praise.